Posted by: tootingtrumpet | July 16, 2010

Pakistan vs Australia First Test Day Three

Blond Australian leg spinner - no, not that one: definitely not that one.

Continuing a series of observations on the day’s play, here is today’s “over”.

Ball One – Test cricket is a unpredictable beast. Yesterday fifteen wickets fell, Shahid Afridi was blasting the ball to all parts and Rudi Koertzen was triggering the Australian captain. Today the play has meandered along with the bad ball being put away and the good ball defended, occasionally a wicket goes down and Australia, as they do, built an impregnable position. After a day of business very much not as usual, business has been very much as usual on Day Three.

Ball Two – Tim Paine looks a classy bat, but why does he spend much of the bowler’s run-up looking at his feet? I guess it works for him, but wouldn’t it be better keeping an eye on the bowler?

Ball Three – In 2009, Ben Hilfenhaus was very much a Number 11. He’s been unfit to bowl for much of the last twelve months, but word is that he had used the time to improve his batting – he has. Perhaps Stuart Broad, a much more naturally gifted batsman, might be better advised to spend more time with a bat in his hand, rather than a dumbell.

Ball Four – 440 to win. One day, not far into the future, a side will chase down 440 or more to win. Outfields are fast, bats powerful and pitches as good on day five as on day two. I wasn’t alone in thinking that Punter and Hussey could have set up Clarke and co for a real go at The Oval last year before Flintoff’s astonishing intervention. At the time of writing, Pakistan are 24 without loss and treating the bowling with something akin to disdain – but will it last? Because for all those external factors that make successful run chases more likely then ever, the biggest factor is still the individual and collective belief of the batsmen.

Ball Five – A cricket ball is a substantial object – ask Tim Paine who took one “amidships” while batting and required a few minutes to regain his equilibrium and check that everything was still attached. So why does its travel under gravity vary so much if bowled under cloud as opposed to under clear skies? There’s plenty of physics to explain swing, and reverse swing – which is a good job for people who travel by plane – but why the marked difference under cloud? Probably best, even in the age of Hawkeye and Hotspot, that the game retains some of its mystery.

Ball Six – Is twenty-one too young to essay leg-breaks in a Test? More than any other kind of bowler, leg-spinners need the perspective to know that there will be times when the ball isn’t coming out right, the rhythm isn’t there, the batsman actually played a good shot. You can be told that, coached about positive mindsets and be naturally phlegmatic, but in the cauldron of Test Cricket, experience counts. Steven Smith will grow up quickly in this team, but will it be quickly enough?



  1. Talking about Hilfy, he does look a lot less scared, but Bolly also got his top score. It might have something to do with Lords in the sun rather than under cloudcover?

  2. Batting is much easier under clear skies, but both played well against some lacklustre bowling. The runs they scored may be the difference tomorrow.

  3. I think any explanation of the swinging would depend on humidity, rather than clouds in themselves. Having said that, the only study that I’ve heard of concluded that there was no difference, with the authors suggesting what we see may be simply a result of the belief of the players that the clouds make a difference. I’m not convinced.

    I also think that Pakistan chasing this down is more likely than quite a few things that have happened before.

    • I read about it being an optical illusion, but we’ve all seen it happen and I’ve done it myself! Pakistan will need a lot to go right, but it’s certainly on if the sun comes out!

  4. From what I’ve seen of Smith’s bowling, a generous summation would be that he has a lot to learn. As did that English leggie (what was his name again?) who toured here a few years ago.

    • Chris Schofield? Ian Salisbury? Neither did learn.

      • Adil Rashid

  5. Pete – not sure he toured Aus, but he is another, yes.

    • im thought he played a few ODIs here, but I stand corrected if that’s not the case

  6. Pete – I’m sure you’re right. He’s still doing well in county cricket, but curiously ignored at for internationals.

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